Tag: voice enabled applications
Voice has gotten a lot more attention in the last few years. Between Apple’s introduction of Siri to the rapidly growing popularity of applications like Dragon Dictation, voice is more than what crazy people hear in their heads. It’s a valuable tool for productivity, efficiency and even safety. Let’s rundown some of the benefits:
- Improve safety in your warehouse. Distracted driving is a big problem on our roadways. Slogans like “talk, text, crash,” and commercials about the “last text he read before he died” send a powerful message about avoiding distracted driving. There may not be cars in the warehouse, but there are trucks, forklifts and other motorized vehicles that can be just as dangerous. Distracted driving isn’t just a problem on the road, it’s a problem in the warehouse too. About 100 workers are killed and 95,000 are injured in forklift accidents every year, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Voice solutions remove the need for drivers to look down at their devices while driving. Instead, a voice in their headset tells them where to go and what to do when they get there.
- Increase efficiency. You can read all about this in an earlier blog post from my colleague, Gemma Randazzo, which details the ways voice can improve efficiency. The bottom line is that adding voice can improve accuracy by reducing mis-picks. With a 99.9 percent accuracy rate, voice decreases the time spent correcting errors and time lost on inaccuracies.
- Drive productivity. While the seconds saved looking down at a device, then up at a product, then down at a device may not seem impactful, if you reduce or eliminate those seconds, it adds up fast. Voice is also typically accompanied by hands-free devices, which have a well-documented 15-20 percent gain in productivity associated with them.
- Versatility. Voice isn’t just for picking. It can also help with processes outside the warehouse, including mobile inspections, field services and yard management. It offers the same benefits – productivity, efficiency, etc. – to those processes outside the warehouse as it does to picking inside.
- Speedy implementation. One of the best parts of voice is that it can be implemented very quickly. Unlike with many other applications, which require a system overhaul, device upgrades, or other time-consuming changes, voice can be added quickly and easily, so the benefits can also be realized quickly and easily. To see what we mean, check out this video where Goya Foods talks about their experience with voice:
The Cofares Group supply products ranging from medicine to health and beauty products to 13,000 pharmacies in Spain from nearly 30 distribution centers. Often they deliver orders that range from one to 20 items to each pharmacy three or four times a day. They need to be able to make these deliveries quickly and accurately.
“Our customers evaluate us based on our ability to deliver complete and accurate orders,” said Abelardo Vaquerizo, duty manager of Cofares Group. “It is a hectic environment where we need to fill orders quickly, but it doesn’t matter how fast we are if we get an order wrong.”
Distribution centers process a large number of orders on a daily basis and Cofares is no different. Most of the medicines are filled by automated machines, but health and beauty items are picked by hand from the warehouse and loaded into delivery trucks. It is a logistical challenge to ensure that the right items get in the right order on the right trucks every time in the most accurate and efficient way possible.
With the number of orders being processed every day, it is a logistical challenge to ensure the right items get in the right order on the right trucks every time. Cofares, through its technology partner, Felguera TI, an affiliate company of Duro Felguera, selected the Speakeasy voice solution from Wavelink to add text-to-speech and speech-to-text functionality to their warehouse applications. The ability for Speakeasy to combine voice with other types of data entry, such as bar code scanning, provides a further crosscheck to ensure that tasks are accurately completed.
“We have initially implemented Speakeasy in two of our larger distribution centers in Madrid,” says Vaquerizo. “Workers are able to speak into their device the item they need to pick and have it speak back to them with a bin location. Once there, they can scan the barcode on the bin, select the items and verbally confirm the item and quantity. This gives us even greater accuracy while also helping them complete the task faster.”
In locations where Speakeasy is being used, Cofares handles approximately 1,200 orders per day. Prior to Speakeasy, there was an average of 20 to 30 errors in those orders, which was still a 97.5 percent accuracy rate. However, with each incorrect order, there was the cost of returning the product and a loss of the sale as well as the negative impression it left with the customer. With Speakeasy, Cofares has virtually eliminated errors with an average of zero to two errors per 1,200 orders.
Cofares were also able to benefit from an intuitive user interface, which allows any employee to pick up a device and use it immediately without needing to create a voice profile. Vaquerizo adds, “Our employees have been very happy with the ease with which they can use Speakeasy. We have experienced very short training times, where we have been able to quickly get a new worker using the system. This was a big cost benefit in terms of our ability to be immediately productive.”
Since Speakeasy is a client-side solution that does not require the addition of voice servers or modification to the host applications, the implementation of the voice solution went smoothly and was completed in just a matter of days. Adding voice to streamline your operations should be simple, straightforward and effective, in today’s non-stop supply chain environment it just has to be.
Okay, it may be a stretch to say that this holiday season you want voice technology wrapped in a red bow but it isn’t a stretch to say from your professional point of view, “let’s make my life easier”. We can’t wrap it up in a pretty little bow with a nice shiny car but we can give you five good reasons why voice technology can improve efficiency in your operation.
- Go Multi-Modal: The ability to accept voice in addition to barcode scanning, RFID and keyboard entry expands the flexibility of application design by providing a cross-check to error-proof data. It also gives you the freedom to select the type of data input that will improve workflow that maximizes productivity. For example, the input of longer identifiers, such as serial numbers, is accomplished more efficiently with barcode scanning. When you can quickly use a variety of methods to check on the accuracy of an order it improves customer service and retention levels while eliminating costly mistakes.
- Increase productivity: With a well known 15 – 20% (or more) gain in productivity, hands-free operation allows for simultaneous action that increases productivity, such as the handling of product while receiving and/or providing information to and from the application in voice form. The voice entry is confirmed by the system, eliminating the need to look at the screen to verify data, further reducing cycle times and improving worker efficiency. (more…)
By now you’ve heard us talk about the mobile ecosystem quite a bit; its importance within your organization and how no two companies will have the same mobile ecosystem. (Not sure what makes up the mobile ecosystem? Check out this useful diagram.) With lots of interconnecting pieces including devices, locations, back and front-end processes and systems, it’s important to assess each area of your business and take a look at the overall health of your organization. Fitting all the pieces together can be overwhelming. After all, what you care about is the bottom-line; where the efficiency is, the increase in productivity and a return on your investment.
If we take one piece of the mobile ecosystem at a time it is easy to make small changes that add up to big returns. Let’s take the warehouse, and more specifically, the back-end of the warehouse and your warehouse management system (WMS). A simple and fast way to see an immediate increase in productivity is to add voice to your WMS in less than 30-days. It’s that simple.
No, really it is that simple. Within the last five-years alone, voice has evolved at a substantial pace. There is no longer one option, no longer additional servers, new hardware or undue burden on the network. Now companies can utilize existing hardware and enable workers (including seasonal workers, with little to no training) to just pick up any device and begin using voice-directed picking immediately. By focusing on just one piece of the ecosystem at a time it becomes manageable and by implementing voice, whether it is in the warehouse or in mobile inspections, field services or yard management, you can achieve dramatic results.
When you utilize voice as part of your overall ecosystem, you add one more tool to keep your enterprise evolving with the growing demands of today’s supply chain.
ReadWriteWeb recently highlighted Wavelink’s Infographic on the evolution of voice and speech recognition from the Brazen Head to Apple’s Siri. Take a closer look at the significant developments that paved the way for voice in the enterprise.
Historically many companies have been put off by voice directed applications from a financial perspective, but also take a “wait and see” approach; does it really yield ROI? This past year alone the momentum building for voice directed applications in the warehouse really can’t be denied. In a November/December 2011 study by the Aberdeen Group 90% of survey respondents were currently looking at voice software, and of those 76% were strongly considering using a different hardware manufacturer as opposed to the traditional voice hardware and software offerings. But does a lower cost option mean that they are less likely to get all the bells and whistles? Could it be that they can even expect more?
I would say yes, of course! Am I bias? Of course, but it isn’t without merit. Wavelink Speakeasy is leading the charge against the traditional voice options. Voice options, that let’s be honest, require you purchase all new hardware and then require further investment in changes to your back-end WMS systems, extensive training, servers, modification or replacement of the host application etc. It’s exhausting to have to think about the implementation cycle for something like this and then how long it would take to see a significant ROI. Who has the time?
With Wavelink Speakeasy we just keep it simple. We stand behind our voice in 30-days or less implementation and not only that, but you get to keep all of the hardware you’ve already invested heavily into, you don’t need additional servers, you can work with your existing WMS, no heavy network traffic, and the huge benefit of multi-modal support that Speakeasy provides. Why do you care about multi-modal support? Voice enabled applications have been proven to deliver improved data accuracy in many applications, but there are many situations when the combination of voice and barcode scanning is most accurate. For example, location verification is more accurate when scanned rather than using spoken check digits. The input of long numbers, such as serial numbers, is much more accurately scanned than spoken. Wavelink’s solution allows for multiple input sources such as scanning, voice and RFID, as well as keyboard entry, which allows for the best method to be utilized.
Still not convinced? Reach out – there’s nothing we like better than showing off. Send in your information in the “Ask the Advisor” box off to the left.
We are excited to share our Speakeasy and Goya Foods video case study. Luis and his team are doing amazing things with their applications, and this video has some excellent insight into the ways voice-enabling their Manhattan Associates WMS has really improved operations. Take a peek and let us know what you think!
You can view all of our videos at our YouTube page, here.
The Voice market is changing. The traditional, legacy, providers are seeing the market expand and enterprises are finding that adding voice to their web applications no longer requires being held “hostage.” With long implementation cycles, costly brand-new hardware and extensive training, enterprises are shelling out big money to add Voice. This begs the question; when does ROI actually kick in? Isn’t Voice supposed to streamline operations, therefore saving you money?
It isn’t to say that these traditional providers don’t eventually save organizations money, but with tight budgets and staff often wearing multiple hats it is even more important for enterprises to see an early return, not only on the financial side, but also on the implementation side.
At our “Voice in 30 Days!” webinar, we talked about many of these topics, and how Speakeasy answers these challenges. For enterprises adding Voice just got a whole lot simpler.
Don’t have the resources or time to dedicate to a Speakeasy implementation? At the webinar, we announced the new Speakeasy Professional Services team that is available to get voice applications up and running as fast as possible. Our highly qualified group of field implementation engineers serves as an extension to your organization by ensuring that your specific objectives are met and that Speakeasy is deployed correctly. Additionally, with close relationships with strategic WMS providers and support for enterprise applications such as SAP and Oracle mean customers who were once limited to voice options, now – so to say – have a voice! We’d love to hear your voice success stories in the comments below!